Samsung Galaxy 5 Review

I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy 5 (i5503) for more than a week now and the overall experience was really great… for a small smartphone that is. In fact, I find it more enjoyable to use than the Android 1.6 Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 which I was previously using.

Samsung Galaxy 5

The Galaxy 5 i5503 is probably the cheapest branded Android phone out there. If you want to see the specs compared to other smartphones in its class, you might want to read this post.

Read on for our review of this little Android smartphone that could.


The Samsung Galaxy 5 doesn’t look like a smartphone at all. In fact, people often mistake it for just another Samsung Corby phone. But it’s not just another Corby phone, it’s a Corby on steroids!

The plastic feel makes this one cheap-looking but very light phone. It has a glossy finish that attracts fingerprints like nobody’s business. There’s a chrome bar around the phone to add some sense of style.

Samsung Galaxy 5 Samsung Galaxy 5

On top is just the 3.5mm audio jack. On the left side is the volume control that also doubles as the control for camera zoom. Beside it is the micro USB port. At the back you can see the lens for its 2mp fixed-focus camera.

Samsung Galaxy 5 Samsung Galaxy 5

For the main buttons, the Galaxy 5 combines the typical Android buttons (Menu, Home, Back and Search) with the 3 Corby buttons (Call, D-pad, End Call/Sleep) That totals to 7 buttons which is a bit of an overkill for a small smartphone. It’s even confusing for me at times. I often mistake the Sleep button with the Cancel or Back button and vice versa.

Samsung Galaxy 5

One thing of note here is the location of the microSD slot which is at the side when you take off the back panel. With this placement, you don’t have to turn off and take out the battery just to access your microSD card.


With its 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, it is the smallest screen I’ve seen on an Android phone. With its small screen comes a small display resolution at only 240 x 320 pixel compared to the 320 x 480 resolution of phones with 3-inch screens.

Samsung Galaxy 5

Despite the small screen resolution, the display doesn’t look bad at all. In fact, it looks a little better than the HTC Wildfire who has the same display resolution on a 3.2” screen. Do note that it doesn’t do multi-touch but it supports Samsung’s Live wallpapers.

Samsung Galaxy 5

Just like other small Android phones out there, it will have problem with apps not made for a small screen. I always use Chomp SMS as my messaging app and due to the small screen, the buttons on it are cut off.


The processor on the Galaxy 5 is an ARM 600MHz which is very adequate for running the Android 2.1 OS. However, you might experience speed problems with nifty Android games (like Angry Bird) with the lack of some sort of graphics accelerator.

Samsung Galaxy 5

Aside from that, the browser, social networking apps, UI navigation and other phone features run perfectly on the Galaxy 5.

For some reason though, it just wouldn’t connect on my D-Link WiFi router when my other wireless devices can. I was able to use the WLAN at the malls though for convenient and free internet.

Message Composing

Major problems people experience on a small touchscreen phone is typically the keyboard. The Galaxy 5 has a QWERTY keypad for both portrait and landscape mode. What’s good about this keypad is that numbers and symbols can easily be used without switching to a different keypad.

Samsung Galaxy 5

What’s even great about the Galaxy 5 keyboard is the Swype feature. Swype is the fastest way to compose messages on a touchscreen keypad by just tracing your finger over the letters and letting the phone predict your word for you. Pretty handy if you keep on hitting the wrong letters due to its small screen.

For Tagalog words, you need to add the words in the dictionary simply by typing it normally before you can Swype them. I cannot highly stress how helpful this feature is especially on phones with a small display.


Camera and video feature is pretty basic and image results are pretty consistent for a 2 megapixel camera. Basically, you don’t want to use it too much if you aim to impress your friends with beautiful photos.

Here are some sample shots:

2010-10-16 17.59.25 2010-10-19 15.15.21 2010-10-23 08.30.14 2010-10-23 08.30.22 2010-10-24 06.01.07

It’s not that great but good enough for Facebook photos which you can easily upload once you add your Facebook account on the phone.

Battery life

Android smartphones are not known for their long battery life. Usually, on high-end phones the battery lasts for only 1 to 2 days on normal usage. On the Galaxy 5, I was able to use it for 4 days with WiFi on before having to charge it. It can probably last for 3 days if you have Data and Push always on.


Despite its plasticky-cheap feel and small screen, I still recommend the Samsung Galaxy 5 especially for those starting with Android. With its price, you don’t have to spend much just in case Android phones just won’t work with you.

Samsung Galaxy 5

I will leave you to discover the joy of having your Google accounts and social network sites integrated on the phone so you can easily sync calendar, mail and photos under the Google umbrella. With the Galaxy 5, you won’t have any problem doing all of these.

An Android under Php11k, I would choose the Galaxy 5 over other phones in the same price range like the Sony Ericsson X8 and the CM Nova. That Swype thing is something that I really enjoy using on a smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy 5 (i5503) Specs:

  • 600 MHz processor
  • Android OS, v2.1 (Eclair)
  • 2.8” QVGA TFT capacitive LCD (240 x 320)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, DLNA
  • HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 2MP FF w/o LED Flash
  • 170MB internal memory with support for, microSD (1GB included, up to 16GB)
  • A-GPS
  • 1200maH Li-On battery
  • SRP: Php10,980

  • Christian Mark

    How can I install themes in my Galaxy 5? And is it true that the so-called Froyo update for Samsung Galaxy 5 will now support multi-touch?

    • Calvin

      eclair already supports multitouch, it’s the device that don’t.

    • rey casas

      sir, i have read some review of this phone having problems on text messaging…it says that a text from one contact will be repeatedly sent…is this true?

      • Calvin

        Can’t really say but i Never experienced it.

  • Jay, Cofused Jay

    Hey there! I’m so very confused to make a decision to buy my first android phone. Galaxy 5 is my first love, But when I peep into the two year from now, I see that this phone is gonna be so meaningless. I don’t think it’ll anyhow support Gingerbread (2.3) & can’t even think about Honeycomb (3.0) versions of Android. And worse than it, it’s QVGA screen!
    But I don’t wanna go for LG Optimus One.

    The reason I want an Android phone is apps like (Official) Twitter App., Tumblr App., Facebook App. & stuff Does it, even-if it’s got QVGA Screen, supports these Apps?
    And even though this Godforsaken phone supports them, for how long? I mean, these apps get updated constantly, and after a span of time, they’ll say, “Sorry to the dudes running on 2.1/2.2, you our website, right?”

    These thoughts make me go for Optimus One.

    So, I’d be greatful of you Calvin if ya help me out in here?
    Thanks :)

    • Calvin

      yes, you’re absolutely correct. if you want your phone to be future-proof even for just a year or two then the Galaxy 5 is not for you. But you have to spend more. Why did you think Optimus One will solve your problem? Go big. Think HTC phones. The Desire is a capable phone that would really go the distance.
      However, if it’s just going to be your first Android phone. Meaning there’s going to be a second one in the near future, the Galaxy 5 or Optimus One would do.

      • Jay

        There will be a second one, but not soon. Perhaps, I’m thinking too much about future. And It wouldn’t be that useless! So, yeah! Its all up to me to.
        Thanks, Calvin, for helping me out!
        I’ll go with Galaxy 5 if you can just confirm that it does support those Twitter, Facebook Apps.

        Thanks again! :)

        • Calvin

          yes the Galaxy 5 can support those apps. :)

          • Jay, Relieved Jay

            Wow! Thank you very much, Calvin. I’m so relieved to hear it. :)

  • Vash

    hi sir, i was just wondering, i have no idea about smart phone or any of these android stuffs.

    where could i download apps for the galaxy 5 when the android market isn’t available yet in the philippines? is it?

    honestly i dont have the phone yet but i’m really searching some comments through the net to get some advices if this phone is worth it more than a nokia 5800.

    please gimme some advice 😀

    • Calvin

      only paid android apps are not available in the philippines. but there’s lots of free apps that are really good. it’s a decent phone if you want to get your hands on android without spending too much.

  • kartik

    it many a times swithes off on its own
    its not that fast also
    the apps should be allowed 2 be stored in the sd card
    camera doesnt ve a flash
    it should be upradeable from eclair to froyo or a better one

  • aj

    hi.. do you know how to delete phonebook contacts using that phone? Thanks.

  • Frances

    OMG. Very awesome and intelligent review! I LIKE IT. ♥
    I’m only a freshmen highschool student and I’m planning to buy this phone when I have enough money. I was thinking how many months will I be saving money if I’ll save P20 a day? I’m gonna be starting in the month of March. Thank you.
    Anyways, for you who made this review, I SUPER LOVE IT :)

  • Jeje

    So which do you think is better? Samsung Galaxy 5 or Samsung Wave 525?

  • Burger_0180

    I try to ask a samsung store here in marikina for the froyo upgrade. they said that galaxy 5 cant handle the froyo upgrade thats why they wont upgrade my phone is it true about galaxy 5 being laggy and always crash after upgrading it to froyo?

    • Calvin

      im not sure if that’s true because the Galaxy mini which also has a 600MHz processor is running Froyo. Can’t say if it will be laggy or always crashing.

  • point2point

    where did you get the data and push?

  • eu

    got it for a week now. cannot secure gprs connection.

    any idea how? for globe tel user. thanks

  • Thiyagu

    My galaxy 5 not working in video calling i have already installed skype but not working video calling it will supports only audio call

    • Calvin

      of course. it doesn’t support video call. it doesn’t even have a front camera.

  • emjay

    Hi Calvin,

    just wanna ask, if ever I am to buy an android phone for a start,

    which one is better? The samsung galaxy 5, samsung galaxy mini, or the LG Optimus One?

    I’m quite torn and confused because honestly, i really don’t know which one is better.

    Thanks… ^^

  • Vince

    Good Day,

    Hello Mr. Calvin, i just want to ask you im comparing the samsung wave 525 with galaxy 5, which is phone is better? coz im planning to buy it this friday… but im really confused of this two phones… wave 525 has larger screen but galaxy is only 2.8″ right? which is better in connecting to WIFI?

  • Mina

    Which is a better device (overall) the galaxy 5 or the hauwei u8150??

    • Calvin

      speed’s the same although samsung has its touchwiz ui (huawei has generic) so it might slow down the unit a teeny bit. huawei has longer battery life. samsung has swype input.

      • dotty

        Huawei longer battery life? dont think so according to the specs Samsung has longer battery life but Huawei has more inside than Samsung.

        Wi-fi tethering
        Wi-fi new N connection
        3.2mp cam
        adobe flash support(but on low-end processor?)
        and a gpu

  • mon

    need some help im having problem on my galaxy 5.. bought it last day .ive loaded 300 pesos worth of prepaid card and only sent 1 sms and last time i check my load is gone.. i cant even check my prepaid balance.. anyone who has the same problem??

    • Calvin

      i don’t think it’s a phone problem. call help support of the telco you’re using.

  • Ma Malou

    help, i could not use our office wife as our internet server has a proxy. i cant seem to set it on my galaxy 5. is there a way out of it?

  • Audi_tour09

    HI there Calvin..i own a galaxy 5 running eclaire. mine cant connect to android market when im connected t the net via GPRS. but i can open google tru my browser. i could hardly connect to public wifi. when i open the calendar, and try to register to google, it says that “it cant connect to google server”. why? it gets me very frustrated because i cant maximize the use of some of the widgets. please help..

    • Calvin

      i don’t know what’s causing the poor connection. connecting to Wifi should be straightforward and that’s the most reliable way to sync stuff from google. can you try connecting via 3G? if it’s still not working maybe you should bring it back to a samsung shop and have them test the WiFi connectivity.

    • aika

      if your telco is Globe, try changing the APN to

      worked for me.

  • JP

    is there any mall who’s offering a sale for galaxy 5? i really want that smart phone even though that they say it has a poor battery life..

    • jm

      samsung shops offer galaxy 5 for P7990 until april 17.

  • kungfushoes123

    i got my galaxy 5 last monday, i have a problem its battery life. The Full Charge can only last maybe 1-2hours when using apps, and 4-5 hours for texting. can you please help me. thanks

    • Calvin

      that’s bad. have it checked.

    • JicoRomer

      I am getting Globe’s My Super Plan and they are giving this phone for free. At first I chose the “HUAWEI IDEOS” but then the representative said he has a better offer. He will give me “SAMSUNG I5500” for free with plan 599. Now I am torn between the two. Could help me choose? Which is better? And which is more expensive?


      • Calvin

        samsung is more expensive. ideos has better screen but the i5500 has swype which is good to have for small phones.

  • langkawi

    galaxy5 [i5503] all app store/save in phone memory why?

    • Calvin

      are you on android 2.2 already? 2.2 allows saving of apps into SD… BUT… not all apps are 2.2 ready so they would still save in phone memory.

      • akire

        agree with langkawi. why is that all apps are stored in phone memory.. is there any way to move the apps to SD.? thanks.

        • Calvin

          pag android 2.2 na pwede na sa sd card yung apps although not all apps are capable of doing so.

  • aika

    When is samsung giving the go signal on upgrading the i5503 to 2.2 here in the phils.? i tried to upgrade using kies but it said This version of the device cannot be updated. I don’t wanna go do it myself and risk it getting bricked.

  • angel_co

    I plan to buy this galaxy 5 i5503, this would be my first android phone. I hope this works for me, I’ve read the reviews and it seems to be a great phone, I was planning to buy xperia x8 but when I saw this I think this would be a better phone for me.

    • Calvin

      you’re in luck, there’s a sale going on for samsung galaxy devices.

    • pi_dave

      There is something you should know about before purchasing the Galaxy 5.

      I went to the the service center on Ortigas Avenue and the store in Megamall and both told me that the operating system could not be upgraded. That is the only reason I bought mine and both places told me the same thing.

      If you hear otherwise please let me know.

      • Calvin

        thanks for sharing dave!

    • asadevcorp

      Happy with Android phone Galaxy 5..really LOve it!!!!

  • jm

    i am planning to buy this phone but would like to know first if the music player will exit if u access create message? im having this kind of problem using an LG phone. thanks. i would really appreciate your response.

    • Calvin

      nope. music will play in the background as you do other things.

      • asha

        naido-download ba dito ang instagram??

  • aj

    hi.. glad to see this blog. I just bought my samsung galaxy 5 i5503 last January. I bought it for 9.5k.. But as I stroll the mall last week, the price is now around 8.5k to 8.9k.

    I really love this phone right now and so far I’m still enjoying its features.. :)

  • Ruel Gomez

    HI! does this unit has a video player? i can’t play my video files, i can’t find the right video player to download. thanks.

    • Calvin

      yes it has pero yung mga low resolution videos lang. ano ba tinatry mong iplay? try getting the summer player to play avi files pero it won’t be fun. hindi kaya ng processor yung mga typical avis mo.

      • Aj Banda

        As far as I know it comes with a default media player that plays mp4 and 3gp. As for AVIs i usually use another app from the market

      • allan

        can this phone play flv files?

        • Calvin

          not without the help of an app. but even then, it might not be that smooth.

  • Bob

    I recently bought Samsung galaxy 5. I am having problems with the text messages. How do I delete individual text messages? It seems that I can only delete all the messages in a thread. Is there a way to delete only particular text messages?

    • Calvin

      press the message you want to delete and wait for the menu to appear. There’s an option there to delete that particular message.

      • zhay

        hi.. bat gnun d ko mbura msg. huhu pa help po

        • Calvin

          click mo menu andun yung option

  • JiaoTakamkemari

    Can we configured it to become a wifi hotspot? I was planning to share its internet connection with my laptop so I don’t have to bring along a broadband stick. This phone has no tethering capability that can share its internet connection using wifi. Maybe there are some options out there for this phone?

  • AngeL

    i am having problems regarding the battery status. As soon as i unplugged it from the charger indicating a 100% charged battery, the battery status appear to decrease down to 98% instantly. Other than that, when charging the battery from about 4% remaining, after 5 minutes of charging it, it already reached 72%. i’ve already changed my battery from where i bought it but still with the same problem .. help please . . :(

  • bandit

    Will this phone work in the US? Am planning to use it as a back up phone when travelling.

  • teach

    does it have dictionary and lock code like the nokia phones?

  • Macey

    hey! im still trying to look for this phone but it seems like i can only find is galaxy mini, mas kailangan ko kasi ng long battery. some samsung shops wala na ako makita. thanks!

    • Calvin

      luma na kasi. get the mini na lang eto yung pumalit eh.

      • carlo

        bt 2ng saken lage narerestart kpag ndi mo gnagamit ambilis p malobat 1day lng pg nkastandby restart cya ng restart tpos umiunit help me nmn.

  • ching

    hi, can you teach me how to download e-book on my i5503?

    • Calvin

      search for ebooks then download it on your PC before transferring it to our phone’s SD card.

    • Aj Banda

      you can also search for an app in the android market to do the job

  • Kamille

    Hi! How can I use print screen on this phone?

  • incess tamin

    my dad brought me this samsung galaxy5 fone. but when im on a wifi zone why is it that i cannot access my facebook account? on the other side can i use it’s applications without any wifi access? just like youtube, facebook and google?

    • Calvin

      wrong password maybe? or try to download the latest facebook app.

    • Mikaela

      nope. you always need an internet connection if you want to access your apps like those stated above. :)

  • lei

    how can i transfer my apps from phone to sd card coz im having a problem with the phone memory of my i5503 it is almost full, i cant install more games and apps…

  • kierwyn

    what is now the price of this phone?

  • kierwyn

    what is now the price of this phone???

    • http://yahoo mhike35

      sir/ mam i have one like this unit,my wife use it only for 2 months.and we are selling it for only 7,500 NEGOTIABLE PA PO….. TXT OR CALL 09229289869

  • jenny

    how much is the samsung i5503 in the market? it the same with i5500?..which is much better?..

  • ashley

    may problem po ako sa wifi, mahina yung sagap nya.. Sa galaxy 5 ko ba yung problem oh yung mismong wifi?? Mas malakas pa kasi sagap ng Corby kesa sa phone ko. Please reply. Thank you!

  • yncaw

    I saw this phone on abenson website and the price is just P3,950. WTF??

    here’s the ad:

    • Mikaela

      IKR!! i was shocked and kinda felt bad to see na ang baba nalang ng value niya. anyway, that was 2 years ago na rin when i bought mine pero nakakalula lang isipin na ang bilis ng magadvance ng tech ng android phones specially with new brands pushing their way to the market.

      I love my phone. I just wish i could some more internal memory. Rooting could be a solution but MX said it isan’t advisable. Just gotta pick my apps wisely then.

      • Mikaela

        watta. I had lots of typos. paki-understand nalang. ^_^

  • kimi

    hi.. my mom bought this on 2nd hand.. i have this since july2012.. and is still in good condition. however sometimes when my fone have this, i so called it tantrums, it suddenly resets.. and sometimes will be empty batt even though i just finished it charging.. and one thing.. i dont have samsung charger for this. i use different brand of chargers but doesnt affect its battery life.. i think the reason why the batt of this doesnt last for a day cause my intrnet is on 24/7 and i use diff apps..
    just sharing my experience wth this wonderful phone.. nd im still loving it. ^_^

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